When I was a student in the early 1960’s, an executive secretary spoke to our women's group about dressing for work. Paraphrasing her advice, she told us we didn't have to have a different outfit for every day of the week. Our goal should be to dress appropriately, be clean, be modest, be neat, and well-groomed. This is good advice for any woman of any decade working at any job. The same advice works equally well for men.
God has advice for his children about dressing well. His advice could be paraphrased in exactly the same way: Dress appropriately. Be clean. Be modest. Be neat. Be well-groomed.
Jesus told a story about a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. (Matthew 22:1-14) Many of the people the king invited refused to come to his banquet, but the king found some who were willing. But among the guests, one man stood out.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ’Friend, he asked, ’how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.” (Matthew 22:11-12)The king had him thrown out. Jesus wasn't talking about a tuxedo made of luxurious fabric or a garment adorned with pearls, diamonds and gold. Isaiah wrote about the garments God designed for his own to wear:
I delight greatly in the LORD; My soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)John wrote of the vision he saw and heard:
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:6-8)From this passage we learn that God provides the garments, that the bride makes herself ready, and the fine linen which is bright and clean represents the righteous acts of the saints.
The Apostle Paul illustrated how Christ gave himself for the church in his instructions to husbands and wives. (Ephesians 6:22-33) Jesus made those he loves, holy, cleansing them “by the washing with water through the word.” Because of Jesus, the church will have no stains, wrinkles or any other blemish on her character. Our new garments provided through Jesus will be spotless. He provides the new clothes, but we have to put them on. Paul tells us, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27). To do that, we must love. (Romans 13:8-10) We must put aside doing evil and “put on the armor of light.” (v. 12) We must “behave decently, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” (v. 13)
Another part of God's clothing for us is humility. (I Peter 5:5-6) We must clothe ourselves with humility toward one another and toward God.
Our clothing is woven with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) Forgiveness, love, peace, and gratitude provide a many-colored pattern of grace that honors our God. (Colossians 3:12-17)
There has to be an inner motivation for wearing these beautiful public garments. We need “the word of Christ” becoming a part of who we are and what we do.” (Colossians 3:12-17) Peter had some advice for women whose husbands were not Christians. This advice also works well for husbands who have wives who have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (I Peter 3:1-4)Humility, cooperation, purity, reverence, gentleness and meekness are qualities God prizes in all of his children.
God's garments aren't too delicate for everyday wear. They are designed for a soldier's work. God's chosen people have a battle to fight. But our equipment and training does not resemble that of a nation's military force. We are equipped with truth, righteousness, readiness provided by the good news of peace and reconciliation, faith, salvation, and the word of God. And besides all of that, we can call for reinforcements by prayer. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
These garments are designed to fit well on everyone, male or female, old or young, short or tall, dark or light. God provides this beautiful wardrobe free of charge. All we have to do is put it on and follow our King into his kingdom.